Regret does not equal Repentance
I recently ran across a painfully true cartoon, which suggested that Disney and porn are responsible for the most frustrated people. It shows a woman asking where her “prince charming” is, while a man asks where his “insatiable whore” is.
Most couples come into marriage with equally wrong, but very different expectations; expectations no real person is willing or even able to fulfill. If you’ve had anything more than a passing exposure to porn, your sexual expectations have been polluted – no matter how much you want to think otherwise. In a similar way, porn has also modified the sex acts you desire, and expecting her to do those things because she is your wife is asking her to pay the price for your sin and lack of dealing with your sin.
Last Sunday at church, the sermon contained the great nugget “Regret does not equal Repentance”. Regret does not mean you have stopped looking at porn. Being sorry you looked at porn (be it ten years ago or yesterday) does not mean you have dealt with the underlying issues.
Even if you’ve not looked in a long time, and even if you never look again, have you dealt with the way viewing porn changed your sexuality? Or do you expect your bride to change to accommodate those modifications to your sexuality? All too often, we can intellectually acknowledge the changes while secretly liking the changed desires and desperately wanting to find a way meet those desires. This is not repentance, no matter how much we regret our sin. It’s also not loving or right.
If anyone is going to suffer for your porn use, shouldn’t be you – the one who made the choice to sin? How can a man expect his wife to modify her sexuality to conform to his porn twisted standards? I’m not saying there should be no grace, nor am I saying a woman should never do something her husband would not desire had he not looked at porn – but those are her choices. It’s not something a repentant man would expect, and not something an unrepentant man has a right to ask for.
Bottom line: Your bride is not responsible for the desires you acquired from porn use. Thinking she is responsible for them, or to meet them, is a grave and destructive error.
For more on this topic, see my Porn Series.